A few points:
–Does Roberts deserve credit here? He does. But also going forward this is a modest victory. As he’s made clear with his voting rights decisions, Roberts is fine with Republican elected officials doing racist things, and preventing legislatures from addressing racism; he just wants Republican public officials to engage in more bad faith when doing so. And also keep in mind that the gerrymandering decision (like many of the other bad 5-4 Roberts Court decisions of the last two years) will have a greater material impact:
2/ In the past two terms alone: Trump v. Hawaii, gerrymandering, census, Janus, Knick, Hyatt, Preap, NIFLA, Epic, Jesner, Husted, SAS Institute, Jennings, Smith, Encino Motorcars, Currier, AmEx, Perez, Wisconsin Cent., possibly Wayfair.
Profound/long-lasting practical impacts.— Marty Lederman (@marty_lederman) June 27, 2019
–We won’t know until someone leaks the conference vote to the right journalist, but between the oral argument and Roberts siding with the Trump administration on most points, it seems possible that had the smoking gun evidence of racist intent not come out in the interim that Roberts would also have ignored Ross’s repeated lying. And even if the evidence didn’t influence Roberts, it almost certainly discouraged the Trump administration from continuing the case although Roberts left them the room to do so. Stephanie Hofeller is a hero, is what I’m saying.
–Even given the incredibly egregious set of facts, four of the Court’s five Republican nominees sided fully with the Trump administration, and did so in opinions that made no effort to hide their partisanship. Now remember how old Breyer and Ginsburg are and…
–The Trump administration would be even more dangerous if it was more competent.